Sunday, December 4, 2011

Fairy Tale Friday #8: Ugly Husbands

Two days late. Ugh. Sorry.

In Hollywood and Famous People Land, you see beautiful women dating not-so-attractive men. Unattractive or aging rock stars tend to get beautiful, young women. Why is that? Part of the reason might be that these men's fame is more attractive than their appearances. But if there's true love involved, then appearances really do not matter.


In fairy tales, there are beautiful women with ugly men whether the guys are beautiful or ugly on the inside.

Look at "Beauty and the Beast."

Belle (meaning "beautiful) ends up falling in love with the Beast's personality and inner beauty as they spend time together in his home. She's definitely not shallow. Of course, how she ends up in the situation is not so lovely. She becomes his prisoner because her father stole one of his roses. (Although he doesn't treat her badly at all.)

And you might say that it's Stockholm Syndrome. She falls in love with her captor. It's possible. There are cases in history where captives sympathize with their captors. Still, there's romance between them, and her love for him breaks the spell.

At the end of the fairy tale, he turns back into a handsome prince which may or may not please the readers. Two beautiful people living happily ever after.

In any case, this (previously) ugly guy has a beautiful inside. He has a heart or learns to have a heart.

Who doesn't have a heart?

This guy.

That's Bluebeard.

He's a wealthy man who has an ugly blue beard, and the local women are terrified of him. So how does he end up with several wives in his past? It must be how he got his most recent wife. He hosts a banquet which must've really showed off his wealth because the girl marries him. She may not be attracted to his looks, but cha-ching, she's set for life.

Or so she thinks.

So she overlooks his scary appearance, but she can't look over his bloody chamber with the bodies of his past wives. Ugly guy. Fine. Murderous guy. Not fine.

By the end of the story, her brothers kill the guy (because Bluebeard was going to kill her). Since Bluebeard had no heirs, the widow inherits all his wealth.

Here, Bluebeard is an ugly guy with an ugly inside. Heart? None, whatsoever.

Let's move on to this guy.

Or you may recognize him as this guy:

You're probably thinking, "Hey, Cupid isn't ugly. He's the son of Venus, the goddess of love." And you're right. He's not ugly. But when Psyche marries him, she doesn't know what he looks like. He's the only person who wants to marry her because a curse by his mother forces Psyche to be single. (His mother is jealous of the human girl's beauty). The reason he doesn't reveal his appearance to her is because he doesn't want her to know yet that he's Cupid. So he makes her promise not to see his appearance until a certain time.

Things are going so well until Psyche's jealous sisters interfere. What if he's a terrible serpent who will eat her and her unborn child? Curiosity kills the cat. She HAS to know if her husband is a monster. She lights a candle, sees him in bed, and falls in love with his appearance. Because she breaks her promise, Cupid has to go away.

Stuff and stuff happens (don't they always), but by the end, Cupid and Psyche get back together and Psyche becomes immortal. Two beautiful people living happily ever after.

(By the way, it was hard to find an appropriate image of "Cupid and Psyche" because they are naked in many of them!)

* * *

Not-so-beautiful guys like the Beast are still beautiful inside while other not-so-beautiful guys like Bluebeard are really just ugly guys. The beautiful women who marry them had no idea what they were getting into. Imprisoned, greedy, or cursed, they still chose to marry the guy. Something other than appearance attracted the women to these men. In the end, all the stories worked out for the women and they lived happily ever after. One man in particular, Bluebeard, doesn't live at all.


M.A.D. said...

Unfortunately, it is incredibly rare [non-existant? lol]for the shoe to be found on the other foot. How often is the comely, handsome prince attracted to a plain/ugly/beastly girl's *inner beauty*??

sugarpeach said...

I agree with M.A.D.'s question. There are hardly any stories where the handsome male protagonist becomes attracted to the ugly girl!

I think that Cupid fits into the supposed-to-be ugly husband category because of Psyche's perceptions.

Jennifer said...

Interesting discussion on ugly husbands. It is interesting how in some fairytales the guy turns into a prince at the end. Or is beautiful on the inside. interesting reading!

Munnaza said...

This is an interesting post, since most of the time, when I think of fairy tales, I think of Prince Charming, and he's usually the generic, handsome, personality-less prince with riches and looks. Beauty and the Beast is the only exception (and well, he turns back into the handsome prince, so does this count? I guess it does, since she fell for him as a beast, but hmm..).

I'm glad you mentioned Bluebeard! Unlike the beast, this guy really IS a beast and there's no reason, other than the wealth, for the pretty girl to choose him at all.

A+ for mythology reference. It's not exactly a fairy tale, but it totally works in this themed post. And I love how it emphasizes the looks vs. not looks topic, and how she fell for him for his personality and not the fact that he was a god.

(I don't really understand why celebrity women date guys who aren't handsome, but are total jerks - since they can have anyone. But to each her own!)

Great post!

primrose said...

Wow the story of Cupid is really touching. Someone should make a movie out of it or something.

Kulsuma said...

I do like the story of Cupid! Sounds really interesting! While studying psychology, I learnt females look for money and status/stability in a mate and males look for beauty and youth in a mate.


FairyWhispers said...

I think the Cupid story is one of the few happy ending Roman gods stories. I like that.


LisaILJ said...

I actually don't have much problem with the ugly husband syndrome. Even now women will marry ugly men (inside and out) for money, security, and status. Same goes for men. At this point they have no problem doing the same. Also look at the nobility. Historically some of them were HIDEOUS both men and women, it was all about money.

Heck even in my own family my great, great, great grandmother had a husband bought for her. She had a limp (I don't know about her looks), and her family was wealthy enough to buy her a husband so they did.

As far as the ugly rocker and the beautiful women, I think there is a charisma thing that goes on that makes the women overlook the aesthetics.

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